Video: New Cub Quintana wants to face White Sox, but has to wait
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Jose Quintana received a round of hugs from former White Sox teammates and pitching coach Don Cooper Monday, a genuine show of affection for one of the Sox’ most respected and liked players in their clubhouse during his six seasons on the South Side.
“He’s good people,’’ Melky Cabrera said. “He’s a good man.’’
Quintana, also a 2016 All-Star who netted four prospects from the Cubs in a big trade over the All-Star break, was at first slotted to face the Sox Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field but the Cubs bumped him back a day to face the Brewers, an NL Central foe.
“That would’ve been a little weird for me to face the White Sox, but one day, for sure, I would want to face the White Sox,’’ Quintana said Tuesday.
Quintana dealt with trade rumors since the winter and those close to him said the affects on him were minimal. Going to the North Side made for the easiest of logistical transitions and put him in position to pitch in the postseason for the first time, a win-win for the left-hander.
“I’m feeling really good,’’ said Quintana, who is 2-0 in two starts against the Orioles and Cardinals. “And I’m excited to be here.’’
Quintana said it was weird talking to teammates across the field but knows “it’s part of the game.’’
Quintana and Cooper exchanged a big hug and had a one-on-one chat.
“I said, ‘Hi Coop,’ and he says I look good in blue,’’ Quintana said. “I said yes, but it’s a little weird. They all know me so well, so I wish them good luck and it’ll be a good time.”
Shields bullish on Lopez
Reynaldo Lopez figures to be one of the next, if not the next, prospect to follow Yoan Moncada from Clsss AAA Charlotte. The right-hander has been lights out with a 1.71 ERA over his last six starts, with 39 strikeouts and six walks over 31 2/3 innings.
There was some speculation that if he didn’t come up to face the Cubs this week, he’d get a call to face the Blue Jays next week. In any event, he seems to be ready.
Veteran right-hander James Shields saw Lopez, who came to the Sox in the Adam Eaton trade, during spring training and during his rehab stint at Charlotte.
“He has electric stuff,’’ Shields said. “He attacks hitters and he’s not scared. I think he’s going to be a really good big league pitcher.’’
Lopez, ranked 60th among Sox prospects by MLB.com, made six starts and 11 appearances for the Nationals last year and posted a 5-3 record and 4.91 ERA. So it won’t be uncharted territory.
The big difference is AAA and the majors is the speed of the game and, for pitchers, facing lineups with nine good hitters as opposed to four or five, Shields said.
“I’d give him the same advice I got – don’t change a thing,’’ Shields said. “Pitch exactly to your strengths and don’t change because it’s a certain hitter. Be aggressive and attack him. You’ll be able to make adjustments as you go.
“When you first get called up you try to do too much sometimes. ‘’
Lopez is 6-5 with a 3.65 ERA with 107 strikeouts in 106 innings at Charlotte.
With Anthony Swarzak pitching in three of the Sox last four games, including a 30-pitch multiple inning effort Monday which saw him record his first career save, manager Rick Renteria indicated Tyler Clippard would cover the ninth inning Tuesday.
*Renteria moved Moncada from second to fifth after the prized rookie went 1-for-5 with four strikeouts Monday. Cabrera, Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia and Matt Davidson batted one through four.
“Trying to stack it a little bit, see if we can put Moncy in that fifth slot, hopefully we can take advantage of some guys on base for him and also give Pito [Abreu] and Melky some more at-bats,” Renteria said.
Contributing: Madeline Kenney